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Author Topic: Retro Game Hacking  (Read 4198 times)

Bob Liu

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Retro Game Hacking
« on: February 04, 2014, 04:59:05 pm »
I don't think ps1 games and forward would be the best place to start hacking so im gonna try some retro game and would like some help. What tools would I need to hack just say a gameboy/ sega gamegear rom, I would like to translate a few as a starting point.

Pennywise

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2014, 05:28:18 pm »
Well, in general the GB and GG are much simpler than say the PSX, but that doesn't necessarily make them easier to hack.

Anyhow, you'll want an emulator, hex editor and an assembler.

Bob Liu

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2014, 05:46:32 pm »
Well, in general the GB and GG are much simpler than say the PSX, but that doesn't necessarily make them easier to hack.

Anyhow, you'll want an emulator, hex editor and an assembler.

Any specific ones I should use, also any info on the know how.

Pennywise

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2014, 06:00:38 pm »
BGB, MEKA and any other emulator that has a decent debugger.

Learn Z80, learn how to use a debugger, read technical documents about system architecture. That's pretty much the how you learn the know how. The process is basically the same for the PSX. There's really no point going in depth on all this stuff. You're just gonna have to jump in and when you have a question ask.

Scio

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2014, 04:50:22 am »
Don't quote me on this, but I think Vampire/Master of Darkness in the Sega Master System uses the ASCII table (that is, you don't need to make a table), so you can just open it up on an Hex Editor and start changing things.

True Lies on the SNES is also pretty easy for a beginner.

EDIT: Just had a look here, Master of Darkness is indeed mostly in plaintext. You still need to make a table for punctuation, though.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 05:00:06 am by Scio »

Bob Liu

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2014, 10:55:10 am »
Don't quote me on this, but I think Vampire/Master of Darkness in the Sega Master System uses the ASCII table (that is, you don't need to make a table), so you can just open it up on an Hex Editor and start changing things.

True Lies on the SNES is also pretty easy for a beginner.

EDIT: Just had a look here, Master of Darkness is indeed mostly in plaintext. You still need to make a table for punctuation, though.

Yea I was thinking that you could just use a hex editor and change the text, I'll try that out.

Drakon

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2014, 06:21:01 pm »
I found gameboy definitely one of the easier systems to learn.  BGB debugger was fairly beginner friendly.

Bob Liu

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2014, 11:34:08 am »
I found gameboy definitely one of the easier systems to learn.  BGB debugger was fairly beginner friendly.

I'll check that out, what are the other tools needed to romhack gameboy games and such.

FAST6191

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2014, 12:15:14 pm »
If you have a hex editor, a means of using a custom table, a debugging grade emulator (BGB and http://nocash.emubase.de/gmb.htm being the main ones) and a tile viewer (most will do GB stuff happily) then you are pretty much there. http://nocash.emubase.de/pandocs.htm tends to do for those needing a hardware specifications for the GB/GBC.

For the record though I did not mind the GB/GBC stuff the GBA stuff and maybe DS too might be more your speed if you want to be able to focus on one area at a time without having to think through the issues caused by the rest of them. The GB/GBC is nice but the GBA/DS is very nice when it comes to debugging and supporting tools and is nicer in lot of ways. To go a bit further the GB/GBC has things called memory bank controllers aka MBCs, in some respects these are similar to the NES mappers and SNES hirom/lorom and special chips. However if you are learning this with the intention of going back to the NES and SNES once you have everything else on lock then carry on.

I will say though that the PS1 is quite doable if you already know it (it has nice tools and is well understood) but I would not try to teach someone ROM hacking with it as the system of choice.

Bob Liu

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2014, 04:30:00 pm »
I have mad edit and hex workshop for hex editing, tile layer pro for tiles and bgb gameboy decompiler. Im not really sure on how to use them but im getting help in the other forum topic, thanks for the info.

Drakon

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Re: Retro Game Hacking
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2014, 06:08:48 pm »
I'll check that out, what are the other tools needed to romhack gameboy games and such.

It really all depends what sort of hacking you're looking to do.  My hacking was game engine based so just bgb emulator was good enough for my purposes.

Whoops sorry I forgot to mention a hex editor as well, I've been using hex editors for ages so I sort of forget to mention that.